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3.6 out of 5 stars
Pathfinder (Unrated Edition)
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2011
Recently I saw this Movie on TV!! I'm surprised at the negative reviews here, truly I am! When you give a negative review on the basis of it "not being historically acurate", this is really a little ridiculous ! I think I have _yet_ to see an American movie that I can actually _praise_ for it's Historical accuracy, but that doesn't stop me from watching them, and yet most of the reviewers here seem tumble over themselves in regard to this movie. Perhaps historical accuracy would make boring movies ?? Still I love History. I give it 5 stars for being different to the run of the mill action movie, well played, visually very engaging, and unusual also I had a feeling of having enjoyed watching something really different for a change !

I have to agree with another writer here, that the thought also crossed my mind about Vikings falling for *thin ice* and also them not knowing anything about *avalanches*, that really was a bit silly. But other than that - really entertaining. I've seen hundreds if not thousands of films in my life, but I think this movie "Pathfinder" will linger in my mind for a while yet, so from me, a "well done!" to the makers, and the cast for bringing forth an entertaining and original movie, wide from the run of the mill !! I'd love to see these same people tackle an Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish Saga with the same gusto. If Historically accurate were entered more into the picture, I'm sure it would run well indeed. Those interested might like a read in a book by Snorri Sturluson ? A scholar on the subject.
L.B.
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54 of 64 people found the following review helpful
The historical question is not whether the Vikings came to North America but rather how far South they came once they made it to Vinland (a Norse settlement has been found on the island of Newfoundland). There must have been interactions between the Norsemen and the "skrælingar" (Native Americans), and while there is no evidence that the two races engaged in a violent confrontation it does make a neat idea for a movie, which is why we have the film "Pathfinder: The Legend of the Ghost Warrior." Ghost is a young boy who is left behind after a previous Vikings raid and who grows up eighteen years later to be played by Karl Urban (Eomer in The Lord of the Rings" but also Julius Caesar on "Xena Warrior Princess"). When another Viking raiding party led by Gunnar (Clancy Brown) attacks his village, Ghost leads the fight against the invaders, hoping not only to save his adopted people but also win the heart of Starfire (Moon Bloodgood).

Basically what he have here is "Vikings and Indians" instead of "Cowboys and Indians." Couching the film in such terms, of course, is easily understood but not politically correct. But if you think about the latter in contemporary sports terms, the idea of the Minnesota Vikings taking on the Cleveland Indians is certainly in the ballpark for a key dynamic of this film, which features armored warriors against people armed with essentially sticks and stones. The idea of a war being waged in the New World a thousand years ago is pretty compelling: the concept trailer they shot to get the film produced makes that case quite nicely up to the point when the native warrior attacks the hulking Norseman and you see it is the Viking who has the ax and the lad in the buckskin is fighting with a sword.

The genesis for this 2007 film is the 1987 Norwegian film "Veiviseren" ("Pathfinder"), which is based on a Sami legend. The first full-length film in Sami, that movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This version, written by Laeta Kalogridis and directed by Marcus Nispel, takes the basic story idea of a warrior leading the Sami to victory against a horde of invading Chudes and transplants it from Finnmark to the New World. The Sami become the nameless Native American people rather than the Beothuk people of Newfoundland and the Chudes are transformed into Vikings.

My major problem with this film, quite frankly, is that the hero of this movie is white and the subtext is that if it were not for the kindhearted son of a Viking who was raised by Native Americans the Vikings who come back in Act II of this film would have killed ever native inhabitant of the continent. Well, okay, that would not have happened unless the Vikings infected the local population with a disease that their immune systems could not handle, but you get the idea. At least this movie allows the title character, played by Russell Means, to come up with the obvious strategy that a people armed with Stone Age weapons fighting on their own turf would use against three dragonships worth of Viking warriors, because that is what I really wanted this film to be about.

"Pathfinder" never tries to pass itself off as history, which is a legitimate approach, but a bit more realism would not have hurt. The film was shot in British Columbia, which explains how they get from the ocean shore to snow capped mountains in a relatively short period of time, a direction dictated not by geography but because that is what happened in "Veiviseren." What they should have done was take the premise of a people fighting back against armored invaders in general without being tied to the specifics of the earlier film. Setting up the Vikings to be defeated on terrain and in weather more akin to the land from which they came ends up backfiring.

Whenever possible the film relies on images more than dialogue, although they do not end up going the "Quest for Fire" route. The color palette in the film favors the Vikings for most of the film, tending towards blue, black, white, and silver stressing night, cold, and metal. Eventually these colors overwhelm the film and works against the basic contrast of the Vikings warriors in the lush green forests that I found compelling. The Norsemen speak Icelandic, which is apparently close to the language of the Vikings, leaving English to be the language of Ghost and his tribe.

I ended up rounding down on this film because in the final act of the film the Vikings enter the realm of being too stupid to live. There is a scene that involves going around a frozen lake. Gunnar sees this approach as being an attack on the courage of him and his men, insisting on walking across the ice. At this point I turned to my daughter and said, "Gee, if only they came from a land of ice and snow, and knew something about when not to cross a frozen lake." Besides, I like it when the good guys win a lot more than when the bad guys lose.
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 17, 2008
The Pathfinder DVD

The Pathfinder is about a Norse/Viking boy around twelve years old who was abandoned or shipped wrecked on the coast of (I'm guessing Canada) where an young Indian woman finds him and adopts him into the tribe. He, of course, is not accepted by the tribe and has to fight to obtain recognition.

Without giving too much, away this move is full of action. Combining elements of Conan the Barbarian - Collector's Edition,Beowulf (Unrated Director's Cut),Rambo First Blood Part II, 300 (Two-Disc Special Edition), and Jeremiah Johnson. Whew, a good movie for action movie fans.

Highly recommended for fans of for action movies, Conan the Barbarian, Beowulf, Rambo First Blood Part II, the 300, and Jeremiah Johnson.

Gunner February, 2008
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2007
I almost never totally pan films or books I take in, but this one is a deserving exception. I have never seen such a lousy interpretation of history as this film hands us and, as the author of an historical novel about Vikings and Indians in North America circa 1050 AD (The King of Vinland's Saga), I am particularly qualified to comment.

I spent a decade researching the Norse incursions into North America before undertaking my novel and can say with confidence that there is absolutely no reason to imagine any of the kind of horrific, horror film stuff portrayed in this movie was ever perpetrated by vikings on American shores. Setting aside for a second that all the evidence about the Norse suggests they did not wear horned helmets, as they are shown doing here, the film has them riding huge mounted steeds as they run down the hapless Indians.

Considering how hard it was to get over to North America, even from nearby Greenland, in the small open ships they relied on, there is absolutely no reason to believe (let alone evidence) that they came here with horses. Indeed, even in the heyday of the vikings (which is actually MUCH earlier than the events portrayed here), the Norse, Danes and Swedes rarely sailed with horses at all. Sometimes they carried livestock, possibly including horses, in their knorrs (wide beamed trading vessels quite unlike their feared dragon ships) for settlement purposes, but viking raiders never brought their horses along for battle. Period. And they didn't fight from horseback either but, rather, dismounted and fought on foot in the much vaunted shield wall (among other formations).

The vikings portrayed in this film are inhuman monsters who appear like ferocious automatons and whose sole aim is to exterminate the natives in the area so they can "colonize" the country -- it's someone's nightmarish view of ethnic cleansing circa the tenth or eleventh centuries. This, too is patently absurd. The real Norse who came here tried to trade and otherwise get on with the native population according to the actual saga record. Unfortunately, misunderstandings soon led to violence and the overwhelming numeric superiority of the natives made the difference as the locals drove them out. The Norse settlers were certainly guilty of contempt for the human beings they found living on American shores at times, and some of them were callously brutal (as in Thorvald Eiricsson's visit in the wake of his brother, Leif's, earlier expedition). But the idea of killing off the locals was unthinkable. There were way too few Norse out of Greenland (a very small outpost on the edge of the known European world) for them to even hope to accomplish that, let alone to need such a removal in order to make room for themselves.

The Indians in this movie, too, are portrayed abominably. They are invariably shown as kind hearted, gentle souls who fall prey to the ferocity of the relentless viking monsters invading their shores. The poor Indians are taken entirely unawares by the cruelty and savagery of these invaders (who, as mentioned by others elsewhere, seem more like Klingons, or even Borg, from Star Trek episodes than they do actual Norsemen from the outer edges of Europe). There is not even a hint that the Indians were themselves quite formidable hunters and fighters, more than a match on their own turf for Europeans in an age before gunpowder. Steel swords and shields were an advantage for the Norse, to be sure, but not nearly as much as guns and cannon later proved to be.

Moreover, we know from the record that many of the Indian tribes were quite fierce themselves and that those in the Iroquois/Pawnee/Aztec family (who appear to have been linguistically and culturally related despite the distances between them), for instance, were not averse to torturing and killing helpless enemies. They also engaged in slaving as readily as the Europeans who ultimately overran them in later times and were themselves often prone to a little "ethnic cleansing". The Europeans didn't have a monopoly on that and they certainly weren't horned helmeted humanoids looking to eradicate lesser species as this film makes the Norse out to have been.

Overall this movie, though it is certainly fast-paced, is an utterly false and misleading interpretation of history. Though the cinematography is nice, despite its unrealistic nightmarish quality, the whole thing looks and feels like little more than a comic book come to life. Well, maybe that is what the filmmakers intended. But that is still no excuse to propagate such an impoverished and misleading view of actual history or to give us characters without any inner dimension at all.

I spent years getting the facts for my novel right and, frankly, I was looking forward to this film when I first heard about it, especially because of the subject matter. But the dark, nightmarish, blood drenched vision it presents completely distorts history with a story that even lacks the semblance of reality as the Karl Urban character teaches himself the highest level of swordsmanship after having been separated from his "Norse" heritage for some 15 years since having been discovered as a boy, the lone survivor of his ship, by a sensitive, caring native American woman. In the boy's nightmarish recollections, he recalls his brutal viking father beating him mercilessly because he refused to use his sword to slay an Indian child as commanded. This too is simply nuts as the Norse loved and cherished their children no less than any other people. There's little reason to think that a Norse father, having brought his son along on a raid (even if raids on the North American coast like this weren't anachronisms, at best), would have then nearly beat him to death for failing to do his bidding. Or that the leader of the later expedition would kill one of his own men out of pique some 15 years later. Indeed, the number of vikings in his crew seem, on screen, to be inexhaustible so there's no reason for him to worry about killing a few if they get under his skin. But, of course, in reality that is ridiculous since, in a foreign land, far from home, the numbers you've got with you count. Moreover, Norse crews were notoriously democratic and followed their leaders not from fear but from a committment to common goals or personal loyalty. It's not easy to be loyal to a leader who murders his own men at the drop of a hat.

Were there brutal Norsemen? Certainly. Were the vikings fierce and fearsome raiders? This is well known. But vikings never actually raided the coast of North America because there was nothing here to take, only land to settle, and vikings weren't settlers. When the Norse actually found North America it was, in fact, at the tail end of the viking age, the people who came here being farmers looking for better land than they had available in Greenland. The odds that any of them had had any real experience as sea raiding vikings were minute. This film does an injustice to the memory of the Norse and to those seeing it today because of its historic distortions and hopelessly thin storyline. I'm glad I missed it in the movies. I should have skipped it in DVD, too.

SWM
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2007
With scenes lifted straight out of "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Alexander Nevsky," "Pathfinder" is little more than a 107-minute-long exercise in nonstop gore and bloodletting.

Located in a sepia-toned forest that looks like a leftover set from the "Lord of the Rings" movies, "Pathfinder" chronicles the ongoing battle between a tribe of peace-loving Native Americans and a bunch of blood-thirsty Vikings who invade their land. As the movie opens, an Indian woman stumbles across a frightened little boy, the sole survivor seemingly of a Viking raiding party. She takes him to her tribe where he is brought up as one of their own. Then, after the boy has grown to full manhood, a new group of Viking warriors lands on shore to once again rape, ravish and pillage the native population ad infinitum and ad nauseam. The young man now gets to defend his adoptive people against his native one.

Once we get beyond the corny, self-reverential dialogue and all the pantheistic mumbo-jumbo common to movies of this type, we're pretty much left with just the violence in the film, which is so constant and so over-the-top that it becomes utterly ludicrous after awhile. The mud-soaked, grungy look so painstakingly established by the costume and makeup departments is almost completely undermined by the fact that all of these 9th Century savages have the most amazingly glittery, perfectly aligned teeth this side of a Crest Whitestrips ad.

Despite this rather amusing orthodontic anomaly, I'm afraid your enjoyment of "Pathfinder" will depend largely on just how many decapitations and impalings you're willing to put up with in a two-hour period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2008
Wow, as an action movie, Pathfinder will not disappoint! This is basically a movie filled with one action/fighting scene leading straight into another, without really letting up the entire time. The scenes can be quite graphic at times, with all the stabbings and violence you'll witness time and time again. The plot is very easy to understand, and you'll never get lost. One scene involving a bear had me totally amazed. I was left feeling like this was a really good movie worth watching indeed. A movie that deserves a lot more credit than it gets. Just about everything was done in a really exciting manner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2012
One of my all time favorite movies. I have a Norse heritage and found this movie was very entertaining and brought forth the ruthless nature of the vikings and the norse culture... I sit with my kids and we are glued to the screen during the action scenes and I can also talk with them about history and culture.

I streamed this movie and it did not have to stop one time to buffer and the quality was just a good as a DVD.

I stream almost all of my movies due to convenience and I like that Amazon has almost all of the newer titles without all the hassle...
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2007
The story behind Pathfinder is that a crew of Vikings raid the coast of North America, killing all the Indians they see. One young boy, about 8-10 years old, refuses his father's order to kill Indian children and is left behind when the Vikings leave. He is then raised by an Indian woman, accepted but not entirely by the tribe. 15 years later the Vikings return and the boy now a man has to defend his adopted people.

What a load of stinking, festering garbage this movie is. Its affront to history is unbelievable, as is everything that happens in this film. The makers got absolutely nothing right with the Vikings. The swords and axes they are carrying are not authentic, but some cheap fantasy made up in a Hollywood prop house. None of them are carrying spears even though this was a favorite weapon of Vikings. One of them is using a flail which won't be invented for another 200 years. The helmets they are wearing are abominable. They are not the correct shape or size and Vikings did not wear horns on them. Some of them are wearing shoulder pauldrons and chest plates. Again, not used in Northern Europe for a few hundred years. Some of the Vikings were riding war horses. If this was raiding party, the ships they were using would be small and light to cross the water fast. No room for giant horses. The boy would not have been part of any raid. Why would a band of seasoned Vikings raiders, coming to plunder, rape and steal, bring along a 10 year old boy? Besides that Vikings never raided in North America. They tried to settle here and begin trading with the Indians. Hostilities eventually arose because of a language barrier and cultural differences. Because the Indians greatly outnumbered the Vikings, the Norse eventually left and gave up colonizing North America.

Even if you overlook the travesty of the Viking portrayal, this is still a stupid movie for so many reasons. When the Vikings come back after 15 years and have wiped out the village and the one they left behind is the only one left, they recognize that he is not an Indian. So they give him a sword to see if he can fight. Yeah, that's what you want to do. Deliberately arm your unarmed enemy. Then he kills one Viking and plucks anothers eye out with the tip of the sword. So somehow during 15 years with the Indians, who don't use swords to fight, he has become a master of the broad sword. Later in the film he is supposedly leading the Vikings to the next village so they can do some more slaughtering. An Indian woman he is in love with is angry at him for complying. To let her know that he is tricking the Vikings, he says something like "they come from the land of endless snow. They don't know about our spring." He then begins to lead them across a frozen lake that is thawing because of the rising temperatures and the ice breaks, killing several of the Norsemen. Newsflash: while it snows a lot in Scandinavia, it doesn't snow 365 days a year. They have spring there. They would know about lakes thawing out when it gets warm.

I hated this movie. It has a nice look to it and they obviously spent a lot of money, but the end result is putrid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have watched this movie about three times now, and will probably watch it a few more, especially the 'sled fight'. Without giving too much away, let me say that this unique twist on an action film was really a treat for me. Who would've thought they'd put vikings and Indians together? Like many others, I'd heard that Vikings had landed on N. America before Columbus, and this film brings out a mythic quality to that 'history mystery'. If you can't handle gore, pick something else. If you love thriller/action and don't mind a bit of blood, this is definitely going to satisfy your outdoor adventure craving.

Chrissy K. McVay - Author
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Pathfinder (Legend of the Ghost warrior) is a film that I have to say would have to be an acquired taste. Loosely based on the Graphic novel published by Dark Hose comics, upon its production, it was intended to be a "straight to DVD" feature. However, with the success of Frank Miller's "300"(another comic based epic), the studio decided to capitalize and gave it a shot in theaters. "Pathfinder" didn't enjoy the success of "300" though.

The movie's timeline is set a few years before Columbus, somewhere in early North America. Our tale begins when a 10-year old Norwegian boy is found by a Native-American woman. Abandoned by his Viking brethren because of his refusal to slay a mother & child, the boy is taken in by the woman's tribe. Raised in the ways of the tribe, the boy oftentimes is still regarded as an outcast. Fifteen years have passed, the boy's Viking brethren (called "Dragon people" by the natives) has resurfaced to once again "pillage and plunder", in their path is the village he spent most of his childhood. The boy, now in his prime, must exact vengeance upon his former sires for his abandoment and to protect the life he has grown to cherish. Karl Urban( DOOM)plays the lead role and the beautiful Moon Bloodgood (Eight Below) plays his love interest. Clancy Brown plays the leader of the Vikings.

PATHFINDER is a hard film to judge. There are a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies, much of the film's main premise may depend on the viewer's imagination and interpretation(I did consider it a fantasy film). I suppose it would be easier to put one and two together if you managed to have read the Dark Horse comic, but I believe a movie should be able to stand on its own for the benefit of viewers who haven't seen the comic version. Details and motivation are put to the back burner here, as the supposed details of the so-mentioned "prophecy" are a bit blurry (my personal take is that the tribe prophecised a pale skinned warrior, much like the white horse), the Viking's motivation for the massacre (my take is that the movie depends on the "Berserker" reputation of the Northsmen--ok, I'll buy that.) and exactly how the lead character (Karl Urban) learned how to use a broadsword with nobody to teach him(perhaps because of his natural "Viking blood", a bit far-fetched, don't you think? or maybe he learned from childhood--hmm, a child wielding a heavy sword?). The Indian tribe are often mentioned as savages with NO knowledge of the workings of the sword that contradicts the idea that one who grew up among the Indians can learn the use of a such a blade. It was also mentioned that the Northsmen have no knowledge of the tribes' "spring season" and snowy terrain, how could that be, when they know how to use sleds? That's the movie's main weakness: it contradicts itself at times.

Now for the action; while watching the 1st-2nd acts of "Pathfinder", the film "APOCALYPTO" came to mind, especially during the chase sequences. When I saw the scene with the frozen lake, Bruckheimer's "King Arthur" came to mind. Not to say that the director (Marcus Nispel) is stealing gimmicks, it's just that it shows that the director likes action movies. Even the Vikings have equal parts "CONAN" mixed with "PREDATOR" look. The characters are flat and the acting is a bit bland. There is ABSOLUTELY no sense of "society" between the warring sides. The movie definitely needed more depth to allow people to have a sense of community so that viewer can have an investment with the tribes' fate.

To its credit, the costumes are decent and set designs are quite well done. Put realism and spirit in the back of your mind, and it seems to be a decent "straight-forward" action popcorn flick. There is a lot of "hacking & slashing" with the usual bloody "splatterfest" that I'm quite certain people who like these types of films and not expecting much may find it diverting.

PICTURE/AUDIO: 2.35 Anamorphic widescreen enhanced. The PQ is very nice and free of dirt and grain. Colors are a bit bland but it looked intentional to create the atmosphere. The transfer is sharp with solid black levels. 5.1 Dolby/5.1 DTS English track is very powerful. The 5 channels of sound is very crisp.
EXTRAS: 7 DELETED SCENES--Director's COMMENTARY--7 shorts about the film's production.
Now the keeper: TIE-IN with the graphic novel version of PATHFINDER. Needless to say, the comic version is a lot stronger than the film.

CLOSING REMARKS:
PATHFINDER is a watchable(if passable), brainless action movie. Equal parts "TARZAN" AND equal parts "CONAN". I really wanted to like it but in the end, the empty plot just made me feel that it would have made more sense as a "direct to DVD" popcorn snooze, rather than having the studio pretending it was a "high-end" release. It wasn't laughingly bad, but people will have to come in with the right expectations.
RENT IT! (a weak 3 stars, a bit better than 2 ½ so I'll be generous)
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